The Kangs: A New Search Film starring Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and Mason Ho.

Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and Mason Ho explore the wild coast of remote Australia.

It’s not often a world-title contender goes on The Search mid season. But, when Mick Fanning let Gabriel Medina know where he was heading with Mason Ho, it was too good for Gabby to pass up. Medina adjusted his plans, slid into the mission, and shifted gears to hunt some wild slabs in the wildly remote coasts of Australia.

This was no luxury trip either. The crew stayed in vermin-infested cabins in the middle of nowhere and survived off two-minute noodles and sausages in bread for dinner. Medina ate nothing but cheese sandwiches for most meals. Mason Ho even woke up one morning to find his toothbrush had been totally devastated by rats. Despite these challenges, the surfers had an incredible time. It’s what The Search is all about.

“That was the stuff I dream of,” says Mason Ho about the trip. “I couldn’t believe, not one person around or out. Then surfing with those two guys, they’re not only surfing world champions, they’re like human world champions too.”

Mason himself had to be selective of the sessions he surfed in while at such remote spots. After sustaining an injury during the Eddie Aikau big wave event early this year, it was touch and go whether he’d come at all. In true Mason style, he made the most of it anyway, throwing himself over ledges and threading perfect tubes on most days. He also added classic Mason Ho moments, like losing the car keys on the last day. Not wanting to be stuck in the scrublands, Mason scoured the entire area for over an hour until he finally found them… in his pocket.

The cars themselves took some serious punishment during the trip. The crew covered huge distances between surf spots, traveling upwards of 6 hours each day, on highways, down dusty bush tracks, over dunes and through soft beach sand (even if waivers had been signed voiding any insurance for off-road driving). Uncle Mick took the helm most often, putting his 4WD skills to good use, getting the car out of some tight situations, using seaweed coverage to avoid getting bogged too badly. 

There’s also the insane surfing on display, with Gabriel launching knee-punishing airs, Mick surfing solo on a dredging righthander, and Mason Ho throwing himself over the ledge on some shallow, shallow slabs despite his injury. “It’s only dry in front of it,” he justifies at one point, about a particularly tricky left.

Documenting the adventure was Surfing World editor Vaughan Blakey and filmmaker Nick Pollet. Shot in ultra high-quality resolution, the 25-minute film captures the expansive nature of Australia’s landscape, the comradery between the team, and the sometimes spooky feeling of surfing at the edge of the world. There is one heartstopping moment in the film where Fanning is brushed by something dark and fast in the channel while paddling in.

Considering his history with sea life, you can feel the tension yourself, before realising at the same time as him that it was ‘just’ a seal. In more sublime frames, there are pods of dolphins swimming through the line up, plus the iconic appearance of emus and kangaroos. The constant company of marsupials along the trip, is what made Gabriel Medina dub the adventure ‘The Kangs’. 

To watch the entire adventure, hit play above.
The Kangs takes you on The Search, through a wide, open land…

Directed by: Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet
Filmers: Nick Pollet, Mikey Corker, Rory Pringle and Stuart Gibson
Photography: Hayden Richards and Stuart Gibson
Producers: Johnny Hawken and Lachlan McNish

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